Reddit: a quickstart kit for science people

The social news website Reddit—which has proclaimed itself  “the front page of the internet”—is becoming more and more influential. With the help of Reddit’s director of communication, Victoria Taylor, we will try to explain the scope of the service, how it is useful for scientists and how you should get started.


Recently, Matt Shipman on the blog Communication Breakdown at SciLogs presented a post with the title A General Overview of reddit’s Science Communities. In this guest blog, Victoria Taylor gives a brief presentations of some subreddits (= area of interest) with scientific themes. Together with Matt Shipman’s former text A Beginner’s Guide to reddit, this text is an excellent introduction to the Reddit universe for scientists. But curious as always, we also emailed Victoria for some questions:

Victoria Taylor, Reddit.

Victoria Taylor, Reddit.

Hi Victoria! How would you summarize the scope of Reddit in an elevator pitch?

The website reddit.com is a community comprised of smaller interest-based communities in a fractal structure that receives more than 5 billion pageviews a month from more than 114 million visitors. You can start a community—also known as a subreddit—on any topic imaginable to connect with others who share your interests.

Which are the special characteristcs and benefits of Reddit compared to other Internet discussion systems?

Reddit provides a suite of tools to its users so they can utilize them to connect in manifold ways—from meet-ups, to AMAs, to advice. Many reddit innovations & new offerings like our brand-new product reddit live are inspired by our community and their needs—we even have a subreddit for people to submit their new ideas.

Reddit is also psuedonymous—that is to say, users are anonymous and only need to provide minimal information to set up an account, and they are expected to prove their credibility through longstanding quality participation in their community. This helps foster an environment where the best discussions rise through upvotes and participation.

Please give three tips to the early career scientist who wants to start exploring Reddit!

  1. Visit our Science subreddit to get familiar with the types of scientific discussions happening on reddit. You can read reddit without having a membership, but can’t actively participate.
  2. Register for an account on reddit and start to subscribe to the more niche scientific subreddits or multireddits (= collections of reddit-related content—here’s an example) to tailor your homepage more to your interests!
  3. Start to comment, upvote or downvote content and participate in reddit on the communities that are of interest to you! Get involved and add your voice to the discussion: you can find others who can offer you valuable advice, insight and camaraderie.
Victoria Taylor is a.k.a. as @happysquid on Twitter.

Victoria Taylor is a.k.a. as @happysquid on Twitter.

(Photo and illustrations used with the courtesy of Reddit and Victoria Taylor.)


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